homebrew, houses, and halfway marks; entry #5

hello, my angels ~

i hope you all are doing well.

i’ve had . . . an interesting few days to say the very least but i’m doing okay, all things considered.

let’s talk about some books, shall we?

“Story. She was nothing but the words of a story, one tale weaving imperceptibly into the next. She was the loom that wove the tapestry. She was the tapestry that joined all things.”

Shveta Thakrar, page 401 (Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar)

i’ve . . . finished another book??? who am i??

how is this book so pretty!!!

i finished star daughter by shveta thakrar! this was a pretty quick and good read. my favorite parts were the bits of hindu mythology no doubt — reading the portions on how the stars and constellations worked, star hunters, etc. was so interesting and wonderful. i wasn’t incredibly devoted to the characters and the plot was a little predictable for me, but all in all, it was an enjoyable read!

next up, i’m rereading ninth house! sometime during fall of last year, one of my uni friends and i started a buddy read but then uni got crazy and then the pandemic hit so we’re now, almost a year later, getting back into the story! personally, i decided to start it from the beginning so as of right now, i’m on page 280-ish.

surprising, i know but i still love it! rereading it has allowed me to make more notes, identify hints, and even find new quotes that i love so i’m really glad i’m finally rereading it!

(also, stay tuned for next week’s update — allie and i had our where dreams descend discussion so that will be in next week’s entry!)

“The thing that had broken her had left no mark, no scar for her to point to and say, This is where I ended.”

Galaxy “Alex” Stern, page 141 (Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo)

time for a ttrpg update! remember last week when i said i was going to be making my own homebrew class? and how i was stuck somewhere?

well, i was stuck because what i was trying to create wasn’t meant to be a class — it was meant to be a background! and once i finally figured that out, it was pretty much smooth sailing!

so now, i’m the proud owner of a homebrew background dubbed, the book keeper with a variant called the book thief.

the lighting when i took this was almost too good

other than that, my only other update is that i resumed my uni game so my tiefling angst baby killed some people, dyed some hair, and saw something she probably shouldn’t have that may get her killed.

what’s sad is that this wasn’t even the first instance where she’s seen something that may get her killed. honestly, the list of things/people trying to kill my character is immense and everchanging.

just how she likes it.

“Why? Because I didn’t want to be safe, I suppose. I wanted to be dangerous, to find my own power and write it on the world.”

Jane Irimu, page 211 (The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow)

current playlist ~

never satisfied // CORPSE
pretty boy // the neighbourhood
midnight sky // miley cyrus
devil's advocate // the neighbourhood

podcasts ~

the magnus archives: holy shit, guys.

this podcast is so good.

a sneakpeak of my “magnus conspiracy theories” spread before it spiraled into complete madness

like, i knew it was good, but i didn’t realize how good it was until i got about halfway through the first season. by this point, i started realizing just how connected everything was and i pulled out my red string and bulletin board and got to work!

which isn’t fully a lie. i have this notebook, i’ve shown it in a few pictures, where i keep information and thoughts on different media i consume. i used to just use it for books but i’ve found recently that i’ve needed it with other media, namely this podcast.

so, i’ve started writing down reoccurring names and information, theories i have, and important things mentioned that i feel like are going to come back to bite me in the ass down the road.

my goal is to catch up in time for the finale for season 5 — which is the final season — so hopefully, i can catch up in time!

what i’ve been watching ~

study-tube??: yeah so basically, i’ve just been watching a lot of study/university vlogs in hopes of giving myself more motivation to study and do work!

“And when the world becomes a vast, unruly place, a place where anything can happen, then — and only then — we allow for miracles and angels, no matter how dark they may be.”

Guillermo Del Toro, page XII (The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson)

this is a bit shorter than normal, but i hope you guys still like it!

stay safe, angels and i’ll talk to you soon.

and until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

ash ~

moving, moping, and magnus; entry #4

hello, my angels ~

what a week i’m having.

if you read my last entry (thanks omg), you know that i’m in the process of moving out of my dorm. as i’m writing the first part of this entry, i’m in my dorm room the day before i’m set to move out, i’m exhausted to the point that even my therapist told me to take a nap, i have takeout and notebooks scattered on my bed, and i’m just . . . so utterly exhausted in every way.

so, i’m going to sign off for now and hopefully get some rest but before i go, i just heard a disembodied yell from the quad outside my dorm and honestly @ that guy: i feel you.

bye for now, angels ~


“But what is a dream, Conor O’Malley? Who is to say that it is not everything else that is the dream.”

The Monster, page 30 (A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
the windows next to bed (taken my first morning at my aunt’s!)

And I’m back!

It’s been just over a week since the last time i wrote here and i have settled in at my aunt’s!

moving out of my dorm wasn’t as hard as i thought it would be and driving back alone was so wonderful. there’s truly nothing like driving down the highway with good music and the windows down.

that feeling of peace and calm is truly unmatched in my book.

but yeah! i’ve moved in, unpacked, and i’m just trying to find a new normal. i still feel . . . strange, to say the least but i know why i feel that way and it’s just something i have to deal with.

so! moving out was a success!

“I think therefore I am.”
“Am I?”

AIDAN, page 264 (Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)

time for a book update!

i have finally finished the book thief by markus zusak! i don’t know if i can articulate how amazing this book was yet but let me give it a shot.

besides the plot being spectacular, the questions that death acting as our narrator and his characterization posed to me makes me so excited to explore them further! the similarities between death and human beings seemed so vast at the beginning but by the 350 page mark, you could really see just how similar death was to the humans in this story and truly, to all of us. i don’t think that there could have been a better narrator for this story because to truly get it right, you needed someone who was on Himmel Street, but also wasn’t. someone who was there at times, but also knew the vastness of everywhere else. and with the addition of death having Leisel’s book, that’s exactly what we got.

the naked hardcover for illuminae is so beautiful i hope the other editions have the same vibe!

and god, was it spectacular.

and surprise, surprise — i finished another book!

i started illuminae by amie kaufman and jay kristoff yesterday and i . . . may or may not have finished it today.

but holy shit it was so good.

truthfully, i picked it up on a whim. i was honestly feeling really down and i wanted to distract myself but i wasn’t in the mood for any of the 50 books i’m in the middle of. AND i knew that illuminae was told through file documents and transcripts so i figured that it wouldn’t be too dense for my sad little brain.

i found that this book asked me a lot of the same questions that other AI-esc sci-fi books do and i’ve become much more familiar with those types of questions because of one of my classes — a sci-fi/fantasy class where basically all we do is watch movies and read books in the genre and ask questions that feel too big for ourselves, and then try to answer them.

i’m still dying over these purple sprayed edges

so, this book made me do a little bit of that but it was also balanced out by humor and wonderful characters. honestly, as i keep reading the series, it wouldn’t surprise me if Kady were to become one of my favorite characters because she reminded me . . . a lot of myself, in some ways. needless to say, i think it was a good choice to pick up this book when i did!

i think the last bit of book news i have is that i started star daughter by shreta thakrar! i’m about 100 pages in and i’m enjoying it so far! i don’t have many thoughts because not much has happened yet but i’m excited to keep on reading!

“What do you want?” “I want to live to grow old. I want to sit on my porch and drink foul-smelling tea and yell at passers by. I want to survive this world that keeps trying to destroy me.”

Marguerite Belbam and Galaxy Stern, page 404 (Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo)

as far as ttrpgs go, i haven’t been doing much. the campaigns i’m playing in are currently on hold on until we get our lives together and the campaigns i’m planning . . . well i’m still planning.

i set up a line of my prettiest and biggest books (that i have here) between my bed and the wall

i’m pretty close to being able to start both of them with the respected parties but i’m kind of just in an all-out slump of life so i . . . haven’t been doing much!

on a brighter side, i’m making my first homebrew class! i’ve been getting one of my friends into d&d and we started brainstorming up ideas for his character and campaign and i finally decided that for what i had in mind, i had to create something new.

it’s hard as hell and i rage-quit a few days ago but that was partly because there are some schematics i have to figure out before i can continue. but honestly, once i have everything figured out and get the hang out it, i’m excited to continue making it because what we were envisioning is equal parts nerdy and deadly.

as it should be, truly.

“. . . the dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around.”

Laini Taylor, page 17 (Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor)

current playlist ~

sunlight // hozier
drew barrymore // bryce vine
dynamite // bts
pretty boy // the neighbourhood

podcasts ~

let’s see if i can emulate last week and keep this one short!

nadpod: i finished it! and i cried (for the first time) within 15 minutes — specifically when bev sang his green teen hymn (i was packing up my clothes when this part came on and i literally stopped what i was doing and started crying!)

the magnus archives: i’m currently in the middle of episode MAG 17 The Bone Turner’s Tale and i’m still loving it! my only update for it is i’ve started listening to it while i’m working out and it’s truly a great podcast for that. or working at my desk late at night.

d&d is for nerds: a new d&d podcast i’ve started listening to that i’m not too terribly far into but is still enjoyable!

~ what i’ve been watching

critical role, campaign two: this is pretty much all i’ve been watching recently! i’ve gotten to the point where i’m getting really invested in the characters and their stories so basically what i’m saying is, i’m hooked. will i ever watch anything else ever again? who could say.

“We have more story than time to tell it — but I suppose that’s true for all of us.”

West McCray, page 48 (Sadie by Courtney Summers)

that’s all for me today, angels.

stay safe and until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

~ ash

dimensions, dreams, and defamiliarization; entry #3

hello, my angels ~

remember last week when i was talking about being back on campus?? well, that lasted about two weeks!

when your university has made national news because of new cases, maybe it’s time to reevaluate! basically what happened was that our university sent out an email yesterday (at the time of me writing this) saying that all classes are to be moved online and that they wanted to greatly reduce the density of the residential halls.

taken when i was having a picnic with a friend!

after talking to my ma about it, it just . . . didn’t seem worth it anymore. i wish i could stay and a part of me wants to stay because i get to see my uni friends and i have a dope as hell job but i’ve been trying to care about myself more and better and i think i need to move out for my own health and safety.

on a happier note, i won’t be too far away! i’ll be staying with my aunt and helping my little cousin (whom i adore but don’t tell him that, that little shit) with online school! he’s just started sixth grade and GOD he’s getting too old, i hate it.

and because i’m staying there, my best friend is also even closer! i haven’t seen my cherry in months and i miss her more than i could convey. AND a uni friend and i are planning on taking a secluded beach trip to get away for a week or two sometime (obviously not going to the beach itself because oceans are frightening and also social distancing!).

so, it’s less than ideal but i’m trying to make the most of it.

to my angels going back to uni, please stay safe. and if your campus feels unsafe at any point, acknowledge that and try to find a solution that will make you feel as not shitty as possible. i’ll be rooting for you.

“It’s hard not to like a man who not only notices the colors, but speaks them.”

Death, page 87 (The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
where dreams descend was the “dream” portion of this title (i don’t think you guys want me to talk about my dreams)

now, onto a book update!

i know that last week i said that i’d have my thoughts for where dreams descend by janella angeles featured in this entry but i think i’m going to have to postpone that until at least next week’s entry. i’m doing this because even though both allie and i have finished the book, we’re both kind of . . . how would you say, going through it right now so we haven’t had a chance to facetime and discuss yet!

so! there’s a postpone on that but surprisingly, i’ve been reading other material so let’s talk about those!

shout out to one of my really fantastic friends (luci) for giving me the inspiration to continue reading the book thief by markus zusak! i started reading it . . . about a month ago (future ash here! i checked and i actually started reading it on jun. 06 so . . . almost three months ago) but for some reason, i just stopped reading it about a quarter of the way through. it wasn’t because i wasn’t enjoying it because i was (immensely) but i just . . . wasn’t feeling like doing much of anything, let alone reading. but then, enter luci who showed me the amount of sticky notes he currently has in that book and subsequently gave me the urge to pick it up again!

currently, i’m about halfway through and man, we’re really getting into it now.

“Everyone is a part of a story, what they want is to be part of something worth recording.”


first things first — criella’s back!

criella being my tiefling gloom stalker ranger, of course. i believe i mentioned last week that i was going to be playing her again this past weekend and i did!

this image has absolutely nothing to do with d&d, i just really liked these pants i thrifted

i truly cannot explain to you all how nice it was playing her again. after months of planning out d&d shit for my own campaigns and then tweaking, planning, and writing out all of this character’s traits, feats, stats, and background, the itch to play her again was overwhelming and i finally got to scratch. i probably won’t be playing this weekend because a lot of people in my party are moving out of their dorms (me included) but we should pick up the week after!

on another note, in my first entry, i talked about dimension 20 and i’m here to talk about it again because . . . the trailer for the side quest was released a few days ago! when i tell you i screamed when i saw that it was taking place on leviathan!! during fantasy high: sophomore year, the pirate city of leviathan was so dynamic and wonderful and now that a side-quest is coming out on that very island, i’m going to wait anxiously for its release! (it’s also being released on my ma’s birthday, so it has to be a sign)

one last quick ttrpg thing! remember last week when i was talking about call of cthulhu??? well, it turns out that some of the critical role cast, along with some others, got together and played a one-shot campaign that was on youtube! so, obviously, i binged it immediately and loved every second of it. (if you guys want to watch it, it’s called call of cthulhu: shadow of the crystal palace!)

“You see a glimpse of someone reflected in that mirror, and a moment passes before you recognize that that person is yourself. Literature exists in moments like that.”

Charles Baxter, page 39 (Burning Down the House by Charles Baxter)

in today’s niche corner, we’re going to talk about one of my classes. specifically, my introduction to fiction writing class.

why? because i love it so much and it’s only been 2 weeks.

to start things off, my professor is the purest and coolest woman! she kind of gives me ms. frizzle vibes, except if ms. frizzle were an english professor. on top of that, she also worked as an editor for a stretch of time which is especially exciting for me because that’s the career i’m pursuing!

a picture i took of the stacks before leaving the library today — oh how i’ll miss that place

by extension, the material she’s picking for our class discussion is also interesting. it isn’t 50 page readings about technicality or whatever, but it’s short stories or essays that talk about what aspect of writing we’re focusing on while actually doing it. i was so scared that i would be put into a writer’s block going into this class but quite the opposite has happened. i’ve written more personal works (non d&d related ones) than i have in a while and i’m really hoping this streak stays with me.

another big thing is that i’m . . . not as scared to share my writing as i thought i’d be and i think that’s largely due to my professor being so lovely. i wouldn’t say it’s something i was petrified of in the first place, but it definitely was a cause of slight worry for me but i don’t really feel that.

but, ask me again when my short story workshop is approaching and that answer may be different.

actually, the defamiliarization part of this title came from this class! we were talking about how authors (how we) make the strange seem familiar and the familiar seem strange in our stories and after reading an essay from charles baxter, it seems like, talking specifically about people, we would want to write characters based on the people we would most like to know. i think most people would choose to know a mysterious and intriguing person over a solely good person because you know what good people are going to do. but with someone who keeps you guessing, who has layers and hidden morals and purpose, you don’t know what they’re going to do next. they hook you in, just like a good book, and they don’t let you go and you don’t mind because you don’t know the end yet. and how could you possibly leave them now when you don’t even know exactly who they are?

but then speaking on objects and plot ideas, i think a good tactic of making something mundane feel special is by making the reader feel special. part of human nature is wanting to be different — to stand out to someone — and when an author puts you on that pedestal — when they make you their someone, if only for the night — it’s enough to enrapture you and keep you there until the last page (and then some). and truly, when we as humans feel special and unique, do we even stand a chance of escaping?

. . . well, that’s the first tangent of the post. let’s see if we have anymore ~

“He believes in books. That much he knows for sure.”

Erin Morgenstern, page 60 (The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern)

current playlist ~

one big bed // emily axford
fickle heart // ira wolf
only in my dreams // the marias
after the storm // mumford & sons
jackie and wilson // hozier

podcasts ~

i’m going to try to keep this section sort because they’ve been getting so LONG ~

nadpod: i am on episode 98, meaning i only have two episodes left and i’m! not! okay!

the magnus archives: i’ve listened to four more episodes, making it so that i’m currently on episode MAG 9 A Father’s Love and guys. listen to this podcast PLEASE (if creepy supernatural shit is your kind of thing)

i’m truly behind on podcasts at the moment so that’s pretty devastating. i want to catch up on my favorite murder and i have about . . . 4 podcasts that i want to listen to more of and an embarrassing amount of podcasts that i still want to start.

we out here thriving.

what i’ve been watching ~

it’s okay to not be okay: i can’t believe i haven’t talked about this show yet! fair warning, i may go into a tangent over how amazing this show is, but i will try not to. this is a kdrama that follows a children’s author with antisocial personality disorder, a mental hospital nurse who hops from hospital to hospital, and his older brother who has autism. and all of them are incredibly traumatized.

this show . . . is incredible. i enjoy a feel-good, cutesy, romantic drama as much as the next person and while this drama does have moments of cutest, the main plot really isn’t about the romance. it’s the growth that these three characters face. While watching this show, you’re basically watching three people with little to no family or attachment find a family within each other.

i finished this show about a week ago and i’m still thinking about it. it really resonated with me in a way i wasn’t expecting nor do i think i could explain.

just ughhh . . . watch it pls.

critical role, campaign two: listen. i definitely haven’t finished the first campaign. BUT i decided that i’d rather catch up on the newest campaign and then go back and watch the rest of the episodes in the first campaign! i only made this decision . . . a couple of days ago so i’m only on episode 5, but so far, my favorite pc character is definitely yasha, but i also really love all the others!

“But to live in the hearts of those we leave behind is to never die. And to burn in the memories of our friends is to never say goodbye. So let me say this instead. Goodnight, gentlefriend. Goodnight. Never flinch. Never fear. And never, ever forget.”

Jay Kristoff, page 477-478 (Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff)

that’s all for today, my angels ~

stay safe and i’ll talk to you all very soon. and until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

~ ash

classes, call of cthulhu, and choccy milk; entry #2

hello, my angels ~

starting work for my philosophy class ft. my bullet journal spread for this past week

i hope you all are doing well and staying safe — especially for my angels who are going back to school in some facet. take care of yourselves.

personally, I’ve started classes back at uni! i’m in my sophomore year so i’m finally settling into my major classes and i truly cannot convey to you guys how lovely it is to have so many english classes.

all we do is talk about film and books and stories and connections and i could fully spend the rest of my life doing just that!!! (though, in one of my classes we had to watch contagion (2011) and compare it to our current world and that was . . . unsettling).

all of my classes are online, save for one day a week when i sit outside and talk about story construction with people sitting far away from me, all masked up.

i won’t lie and say that it doesn’t feel different because it does. i spend most of the time in my room working on my laptop when i used to actually go to classes in person and work in cafes but the world has changed. so, i’m doing the best i can to stay safe while also staying sane and as serene as i can, and i hope you all are doing the same.

“You think I dance under the rain to stay dry?”

Kallia, page 304 (Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles)
she’s so pretty — ft. my notebook of theories

now, shall we talk about books?

currently, i’m buddy reading where dreams descend by janella angeles with allie!

if i’m not mistaken, this sparked because we were both so excited for this book — which was amplified when the beautiful owlcrate edition was sent out.

i think by now she’s already finished it but i’m still working my way through it because classes

but so far, i’m enjoying it! i really love the magical circus take, the entire Hellfire House was super interesting, and i’m excited to learn more about what the hell is up with Glorian and those woods! on another note, i am also really enjoying the writing style. the pacing is a bit slow, but i find that i don’t even mind most of the time.

that’s all of my thoughts for now but i suspect that i’ll have a more complete take in next week’s entry!

as for the vampire lestat, i’ve read maybe . . . a 100ish more pages? i’m still really enjoying it and it’s still making me think so much. i don’t really have an update for myths & legends because i haven’t read much more of it but i’m hoping to change that soon!

“Vaguely, I knew she had no notion yet how strong our passions could be, how they could paralyze us.”

Lestat, page 171 (The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice)

you’ve guessed it — it’s time for a ttrpg update!

watching critical role while planning out my main points for this very entry 👀

so in last week’s entry, i talked about the two ttrpg campaigns i’m playing in right now — one’s a d&d campaign and the other is a pathfinder one. because we’re going back to school, my pathfinder campaign is being put on hold because our sessions take . . . 3-4 hours? so we’re thinking about trying out call of cthulhu!

i had heard of call of cthulhu but it was only after doing some research that i got so psyched. if playing in a h.p. lovecraft inspired world fighting supernatural entities while also slowly (or not) losing your sanity sounds like your jam, i’d recommend researching call of cthulhu!

on another note, it sounds like my party and i are going to be continuing our campus d&d campaign this coming weekend — so stay tuned for that in next week’s entry! tomorrow, i should be getting some more information on my character’s personal investigation and contacts (because background = criminal) and i can’t wait to transcribe them into my player notebook.

basically, i’m so ready to play d&d this weekend!

“It was a song and a promise and a story all in one.”

Christine Lynn Herman, page 347 (The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman)

. . . i wonder if in every entry there will some part of the title that is worth explaining.

today’s is choccy milk.

for some reason, i’ve been drinking so much chocolate milk and it’s probably getting out of hand but i can’t even bother to be upset.

it’s so good.

also . . . this glass jar?? it makes me feel very “drinking milk right out of the jar after the milkman dropped it off” which is oddly specific but i don’t care.

i don’t really know what the point of this portion was besides me conveying my love of chocolate milk but . . . you signed up for this so sorry :/

“Does anyone else know the size of your soul?”

Armand, page 250 (The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice)

current playlist ~

i don't trust myself (with loving you) -- john mayer
slow dancing in a burning room -- john mayer
heavenly -- cigarettes after sex
baby i'm yours -- arctic monkeys
i wanna be yours -- arctic monkeys
sextape -- deftones
single -- the neighbourhood

podcasts ~

i’m still working my way through the last few episodes of not another d&d podcast (i have four episodes left of campaign 1!!), but along with it, here’s some other podcasts i’ve been listening to ~

this has nothing to do with ttrpgs, i just wanted to show off my devil socks! (also, shout out to the dude at the grocery store who said my fit was good — you made me smile)

the magnus archives: so. i started listening to this yesterday and it’s so expertly crafted. i saw a youtuber i really like (cheyenne barton — 10/10, highly recommend her channel) talk about it and truly, i saw horror and i yeeted to my spotify and saved it.

but basically, this podcast follows a new archivist at the magnus institute who is going through old case reports, transcribing them on tape, and then relaying his own thoughts at the end of them. the kicker, of course, is that the magnus institute specializes on cases that are supernatural, horrifying, and weird.

i’m currently on MAG 5 Thrown Away and if any of what i’ve said appeals to you, i highly recommend you guys check it out!

faerie: honestly, i can’t remember how this one made it into my saved podcasts but i do know that it took me months to finally start it — but for some reason, whenever i went in to clear out my podcasts, this one always stayed.

and boy, am i so glad i kept it.

faerie is a 12 episode series that (so far — i’m only on episode 2) follows a podcaster and a man who worked for a now-dissolved government agency that tracked faeries! the man has come onto the former’s podcast to share with the world that faeries exist while also trying to reinstate the government agency because apparently . . . well, it’s getting dangerous.

i think the thing thus far that has me so enraptured in this podcast is that the podcaster doesn’t just . . . give in to the crazy shit this dude is telling her. she calls him out and i love that.

what i’ve been watching ~

besides continuing critical role, i’ve been watching —

caricakes: cari is a daily vlogger who vlogs about living in korea, books, cafes, and other things that i find very peaceful and cozy. i love the vibe to her videos, they’re the type that you can put on in the background and do work to, or actively pay attention and watch!

cup of jasmine: jasmine is a uni student/tattoo artist in new york who also vlogs whose videos i also find very peaceful and intriguing! she mostly vlogs about art in different mediums, primarily printmaking and tattooing, with sprinkles of lifestyle vlogging in between!

“We go into the fire or we go into legend.”

Unknown, page 267 (The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice)

that is all for this entry, angels.

stay safe.

and until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

~ ash

slumps, stories, and sorcerers; entry #1

hello, my angels ~

truthfully, i’ve had no motivation to write reviews lately which is tragic because i miss posting! but since the bulk of what i post are reviews, it makes it a little difficult for me to get content out that i’m happy with.

so i thought of a fun middle ground — posts where i can talk about books as they come up in my life over a day or a week or whatever, with sprinkles of other things i’m passionate about! so . . . let’s get into it, i guess.

“Come to me. Come to me because only I, and my like, can end the loneliness you feel.”

armand, page 176 (The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice)
looking back, i thought this was coffee but then i remembered — it was chocolate milk

i’ve been in a reading slump for maybe . . . 2 months now? it was so awful and such a weird slump because i would get the urge to read for a day or two and then it would disappear for weeks. but, when i have been reading, i’ve been on a classics kick! currently, i’m working my way through the vampire chronicles by anne rice (not technically a classic but i don’t really care, bite me)

i finished interview with the vampire last month and i’m currently about 200 pages into the vampire lestat and holy hell, angels! just today i got to a part that explains so much about lestat’s character in book 1 and i truthfully lost my shit (but quietly). i’m really enjoying this series so far — it’s making me get really philosophical which is fun for me, but annoying for most everyone around me. the books have moments that make me question myself on virtually everything and they themselves pose such intriguing questions and conversations! it also doesn’t hurt that there are some killer quotes sprinkled throughout.

basically, i’m having a good time!

“But what of the hearts that survive?”

claudia, page 196 (interview with the vampire by anne rice)
my notebook where i write down book info and notes ft. my chipped nails

i’ve also just started another book! i’ve been really into old and dead . . . stuff recently (that’s not very eloquent but when am i ever!!!) (also, i’m referring to like,,, knowledge and legends and stories and such — not actual old and dead tangible things) (i feel like that was a clarification worth making).

so today i started myths and legends by jake jackson which tells some of the legends, myths, and folklore from a variety of cultures!

recently, i’ve been feeling the urge to delve into the past but there’s so much and i have no idea where to even begin but i think this book will give me a good launch point to where i can research deeper into stories and cultures that i find the most intriguing and work my way out from there!

i think when it comes down to it, i’m fascinated with the core ideas and struggles humans face. it’s so baffling to me (in the best way) that virtually everyone everywhere in any time period has had, is currently having, or will have the same internal struggles and the same basic needs and emotions. it brings me so much joy and peace to read about all the things we share and all the perspectives about why we share them and what that means for us.

i could spend the rest of my life reading and listening to stories of love and life and art and power and the great dichotomies of the world and the very nature of it all and die happy.

“How pathetic it is to describe these things which can’t truly be described.”

louis, page 20 (interview with the vampire by Anne Rice)
YES that’s a peach and my bullet journal — it was very aesthetic and very me, don’t worry about it

now, you may be wondering.

“what the hell does she mean by sorcerers?”

well, let me tell you: over the past 6-8 months-ish, i’ve gotten really into dnd (and a little into pathfinder but primarily dnd) and it’s almost taken over my life!!!

i’m currently playing in one dnd campaign made up of a few university friends, in which i play a tiefling gloom stalker ranger who is out for revenge!!!

i’m also playing a dhampir witch in a pathfinder campaign with one of my best friends, his brother as the gm, and a few people i don’t really know! all i’m going to say about this campaign is that my pc has a thing with eyes and just leave it at that.

(there’s a point coming, i promise)

but along with getting into dnd, i’ve been yearning to run my own campaign. i currently have two in the works and today, i finally bought and received my first dnd sourcebook! i got the sword coast adventurer’s guide first because i can get a copy of the player’s handbook online and one of the campaigns i’m writing takes place along the sword coast! it was perfect, the book is perfect, and i’m so excited oh my god.

(for those of you reading this who don’t play dnd, i’m sorry if this is confusing, i’m just really hyped)

“We write our own fairy tales, my love. The lesson in this is that nothing can destroy what you are now. Every wound will heal.”

lestat, page 160 (the vampire lestat by anne rice)

when pondering why i’ve developed such an obsession with dnd, i feel it’s probably because it makes me want to write something again. i haven’t written an original work in so long but when i listen to dnd podcasts or i work on character creation or even when i’m thinking about all the possibilities for how something could play out, i get this undeniable urge to create. whether it be dialogue for an opening scene or a brief mapout of how an encounter is going to go, being able to create something tangible, yet not, again fills me with a sense of purpose that i haven’t felt in . . . about a year.

so if you’re a writer who’s in a writing slump, or even just a creative in a creative slump, maybe try out dnd! (and even if you’re not, it’s just,,, so fun so maybe try it out anyways!)

“You make life when you play. You create something from nothing. You make something good happen. And that is blessed to me.”

lestat, page 46 (The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice)

~ current playlist

movement -- hozier
tell that devil -- jill andrews
cardigan -- taylor swift
mirrorball -- taylor swift
between the bars -- elliott smith

~ podcasts

not another d&d podcast: i only have 10 episodes left in campaign 1 so this has been pretty much the only podcast i’ve been listening to and it will probably remain this way until i finish the campaign!! can’t wait to cry!!!

~ what i’ve been watching

a crown of candy: the final episode was just released a few days ago and oh my god — it was incredible. dimension 20 is such an incredible show and every season is so unique and enrapturing. 10/10, highly recommend

critical role, campaign 1: i’ve finally gotten around to watching critical role after hearing so much about it and i’m really enjoying it so far! i’m only on episode 5 of the first campaign but i’m getting to that point where i’m really starting to root for these characters and remember their quirks and shit.

“Save your kisses for the world.”

magnus, page 81 (The Vampire Lestat by anne rice)

so, this is where i’m at now. i hope you guys enjoyed this — i really did and i was excited to write this for you all! even taking the photos to share with you guys was a joy.

i hope you all are staying safe and healthy.

and until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

— ash

the books that made me who i am ~

hello, my angels ~

today, i come to you all with a different kind of post, separate from my normal reviews. i’ve been toying with this idea for a while, but i finally decided to make this post after seeing Cups and Thoughts’ own post! i’ve loved their instagram feed for so long and after finding out that they had a blog, i’ve been reading some posts, this one included and i finally decided to do my version! (i highly recommend their blog [and other social media]!)

so, today, i’ll be sharing with you all the books that had a hand in making me . . . me.

alice’s adventures in wonderland by lewis carroll

i’ve heard it’s best to start from the beginning and if that’s so, than Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is my beginning.

i remember reading the shortened, child version of the story when i was young and i fell in love from there.

the idea of the impossible being everywhere, so close it might as well be suffocating you, has been something that

i’ve been chasing since i first read it. this book was the one that first made me believe in the power of an impossible story, the power of escapism, and the power of a freshly-brewed cup of tea.

six of crows duology by leigh bardugo

literally no one is surprised.

this series got me back into reading when i needed it the most. the memory of me pulling six of crows off the shelf is still so vivid in my mind. at that point in my life, i hadn’t picked up a book that had truly made me feel something in quite a while.

but if alice’s adventures in wonderland showed me what books could do for a person, this series reminded me of it.

i think maybe, just maybe, this series gave me something to believe in again — right when i needed it the most.

this, plus the amazing plot and characters, have made it so this series is one that i could never forget.

the bone witch trilogy by rin chupeco

ah, the series that started it all.

if you’ve been around for a while (thank you wtf), then you may know that my first ever review, and the reason i began my blog, was because of the bone witch.

when i turned that last page, i craved another. but more than that, i craved to tell people about it — so i did. i told my mother, my grandmother, my best friend, and they were delighted to indulge me, but their eyes didn’t light up and their breath didn’t quicken — their soul didn’t brighten at the mention of a really good book. not like mine did. so i set out to write a review for this impossible book that people who understood the impossible, who were intimately close with it, would understand.

and here you are, so thank you.

the rest of the series gave me something to look forward to, if not just for the books themselves, but for me being able to share my thoughts about them with all of you. to me, it was almost like an anniversary. and even now, when the series is wrapped and finished (as finished as a really good story can be), quotes from that series still wrap themselves around me, the characters still find me, and this feeling of forever is always there.

i don’t know how much i believe in forever, but i do believe in books. and i believe that if the closest i ever get to forever is what i felt reading this book and what remains now that it’s over, i think i’ll be just fine.

(at this point, i’ve gotten oddly poetic which normally doesn’t come out here but it’s chill, we’ll just role with it)

the picture of dorian gray by oscar wilde

ah, now for the book that i’ve been steadily forcing everyone i hold dear in the book world to read!

this book holds most of the things that i’m fascinated by — art, adoration, eternity, people and their intentions, so on.

. . .

do you ever have a book that you adore but for the life of you, you can’t explicitly state why that is? well, that sums up the picture of dorian gray to me.

i can tell you that i love this book, that i love how these ideas that i’m fascinated are discussed, but there’s something else there that i love that i can’t put a name to.

(maybe you should read it to find out ;)).

girl in pieces by kathleen glasgow

okay so we may be getting a little sad here and for that, i apologize.

i’ve uhhh been through some shit, as we all have.

one of the major things i’ve gone through is a central plot in this book and reading this, it was the first time i saw what i had gone through done so truthfully.

girl in pieces helped me close a door on a person i used to be, while also giving me the courage to not be ashamed of it.

the starless sea by erin morgenstern + the ten thousand doors of january by alix e. harrow

yes, i know that these two books aren’t connected in virtually any way, but they both represent the same thing to me so instead of being redundant, i’m grouping them together.

to me, both of these novels are love letters to stories and the worlds they have the potential to take us to.

being people like us, it’s sometimes difficult to portray what books mean to us in a way that truly shows how much they mean to us but these two books truly do that for me. if someone were to ask me what is so great about reading, if i could, i would give them one (or both) of these novels and just say, “read this. read this and tell me you weren’t enraptured. tell me you didn’t swear that you were someone else, somewhere else. tell me that you didn’t feel infinite or immortal or otherworldly.”

for someone who favors words over virtually everything else, i’m not good at expressing my emotions, even in writing and even about writing and words and stories. but these books are the closest i could ever get to showing another person how much stories mean to me.

that’s all for me, angels. i’m sorry i’ve been gone for so long.

until next time, whenever that is, don’t miss me too much 😉

— ash

the dark academia book tag ~

hello, my angels ~

i just recently finished the secret history and now, all i want to read is dark academia! but i sadly cannot, so here’s the next best thing.

this is going to be rapid fire as hell so let’s do this.

I. what is your favorite “academia” or “dark” book + movie?

book? ninth house by leigh bardugo.

movie? the dead poet’s society.

II. what dead poet would you like to have a drink with?

basic, but edgar allan poe. partly because, you know, dope writing and goth as hell, and partly because i’m a true crime buff and the circumstances leading up to his death have been debated and questioned. if i could, i’d like to know the truth behind his death — and who better to tell me than the dead man himself?

III. what is your favorite painting and/or sculpture?

picture of dorian gray, 1943-1944.

not just because i love the book, but because the painting itself, the artistic choices, the idea that developed it — the very horror of it all — is something i always come back to.

i really want to see it in person one day.

IV. what is your favorite architectural marvel?

i can’t say i have a favorite, but when looking through a few lists, i found the sacsaywaman, a structure in the ancient inka empire and since i studied the inka empire just slightly last semester and this structure seems rad as hell, i think it’s a good option.

V. what shakespeare play would you want to be the lead in?

honestly? none — i don’t particularly enjoy shakespeare. i’m not familiar enough with his works to even choose one i’d like most.

VI. how many languages do you speak and which language would you most like to learn?

fluently? i only know english. there are many languages i want to learn, but latin is the one i probably want to learn the most. its appeal of being a dead language, yet still being ingrained in the world, fascinates me.

VII. what is your favorite quote (from poetry, prose, plays, etc)?

i have too many to choose from. but in keeping with the theme of dark academia, we’ll go with this one.

“Why does that obstinate little voice in our heads torment us so? Could it be because it reminds us that we are alive, of our mortality, of our individual souls — which, after all, we are too afraid to surrender but yet make us feel more miserable than any other thing? But isn’t it also pain that often makes us most aware of self? It is a terrible thing to learn as a child that one is a being separate from all the world, that no one and no thing hurts along with one’s burned tongues and skinned knees, that one’s aches and pains are all one’s own. Even more terrible, as we grow older, to learn that no person, no matter how beloved, can ever truly understand us. Our own selves make us most unhappy, and that’s why we’re so anxious to lose them, don’t you think?”

— julian morrow, page 36, the secret history by donna tartt

VIII. which fictional character’s death is your ideal way to go?

who knows? i may just pull an alina starkov and fake my own death.

IX. what university/college would you most like to attend?

in aesthetics, yale. but i quite like where i go to university now.

(my dorm next year is so close to the largest library, i’m truly thriving)

X. what is your murder weapon or murder method of choice?

swords or fists.

XI. what mythology would you most like to be apart of?

i honestly,,, don’t know.

XII. if you had to do a phd, what would you choose to do it on?

something to do with impossible books.

XIII. which fictional character would you die for?

too many to count.

but most recently? isaac sullivan.

rapid-fire: pick one

I. leather bound or cloth bound books?

leather bound.

II. dog-earing pages or highlighting pages?

highlighting pages.

III. sculptures or paintings?


IV. piano or violin?


V. films or theatre?


VI. poetry or prose?

mhm, poetic prose? prose that feels like poetry is my favorite.

VII. museums or bookshops?


VIII. smell of books or smell of coffee/tea?

smell of books.

IX. fountain pen or typewriter?

typewriter. (my tattoo will burn me if i say otherwise ;)).

X. new or used books?

new, for the most part. but there’s something about the idea of sharing a book you know intimately with someone you know intimately and letting them read your annotations, letting them make their own, that appeals to me.

and we’re done! i haven’t done a tag in /so/ long, so i hope you guys enjoyed this change of pace.

until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

— ash

book review > ‘the deck of omens’ by christine lynn herman

hello, my angels ~

i hope you all are doing well. i’m going to be honest, i’m having a rough night. but, for reasons i’ll explain later, i think writing this review now will be . . . nice.

but before we begin, a huge shoutout goes to Nikki for buying me this book (i’m crying you guys, how did i ever deserve such a wonderful friend?). it was actually kind of serendipitous because for my high school graduation later year, Nikki sent me The Devouring Gray and this year, she sent me The Deck of Omens just days before i finished off my first year of uni. what can i say, i guess we’re just linked ~

but now, let’s get into this review.

page number



YA > Fantasy > Urban Fantasy and Paranormal; Queer


Though the Beast is seemingly subdued for now, a new threat lurks in Four Paths: a corruption seeping from the Gray into the forest. And with the other founders preoccupied by their tangled alliances and fraying relationships, only May Hawthorne recognizes the danger. But saving the town she loves means seeking aid from the person her family despises most — her father, Ezra Bishop.

Ezra isn’t the only newcomer in town — Issac Sullivan‘s older brother has also returned, seeking forgiveness for the role he played in Isaac’s troubled past. But Isaac isn’t ready to let go of his family’s history, especially when that history might hold the key that he and Violet Saunders need to destroy the Gray and the monster within it.

Harper Carlisle isn’t ready to forgive, either. Two devastating betrayals have left her isolated from her family and uncertain who to trust. When the forest’s corruption becomes impossible to ignore, Harper must learn to control her newfound powers in order to protect Four Paths. But the only people who can help her do that are the ones who have hurt her the most.

As the veil between the Gray and the town grows ever thinner, the founder descendants must put their grievances with one another aside to stop the corruption and kill the Beast once and for all.

But maybe the monster they truly need to slay has never been the Beast . . .

thoughts while reading

“there’s a theme emerging here”
“i don’t remember
exactly what’s up with him OOP”
“i’m in: pain”
“i really don’t get Augusta”
“oh GOD YES”
“hell yeah you are”
“i truly adore this boy”
“that’s just plain awful”
“oh yeah . . .”
“oh boy, I felt that”
“oh GOD”
“the stress i’m experiencing is
“hell yeah”
“oh my GOD i’m so soft”
“pretty :(“
“hell YES!”
“when you did WHAT?”
“oh! shit!”
“about time”
“oh fuck”
“that got me”
“holy! shit!”
“time to: murder”
“the noise i just let out was
not human”
“hell YEAH they do”

“Love had always been painful for him, a weapon held to his throat that his family and friends had used to control them. It was an unanswered question, a constant ache in his chest, the distant echoes of memories he wished he could forget. Yet none of that could quash the hope he carried that, one day, he’d be able to care for the people around him and have it feel like victory instead of surrender. That his emotional bonds would make it easier, not harder, to be human.”

— Christine Lynn Herman, page 38-39

thoughts ~

Like I mentioned above, I’m feeling pretty down tonight. And that’s okay. And I know you may be wondering, “Ash, if you’re feeling down, why the hell are you writing a book review?” Well, friend. Because when I feel like this, this specific type of “down”, it helps to know that I’m not alone.

And this book helped me with that. Helps, I should say.

We all have characters that feel like extensions or pieces of ourselves. I think if you sat down with any one of us and said, “okay, if you could describe yourself in a few books characters, who would they be?” and we could name off the characters that we feel especially connected to. But even more than that, I think we, some of us at least, have one character that is everything we’ve ever been and everything we hope to be. That character that makes us feel like we’re looking in a mirror, or makes us wonder how the hell an author wrote down the things that we don’t even say out loud.

For me, that character is Isaac Sullivan, the angsty fire boy himself.

I connected with him during The Devouring Gray, but it was during this book that I truly realized how much I see myself in him. And at times, it hurt because I saw what he was doing to himself and the people he cared about and knew that I’ve done similar things (minus the fire). But, this sense of validity was ever present. The idea that he could go through these horrific events and toxic relationships and still work towards being happy with who he is makes me believe that I can as well. And I’m trying. But having the reminder that I have a chance is always nice, especially on nights like tonight.

But Issac isn’t the only character who means a lot to me. Harper Carlisle also holds a very special place in my heart. I think if Issac is the character I most see myself in, Harper may just be the second. The things she goes through I have my own personal parallels with and they really hit close to me. I won’t go too in depth on why exactly because it’s incredibly personal to me so just trust me, kay?

We should probably get onto the actual book now, huh?

I read this book in two days — 36 pages in one, the rest the next. I was only planning on reading 100 more pages the next day, but I got completely enraptured and sucked into the story that I had no choice but to stay up and finish it.

And here I am, a few days later, and I still haven’t stopped thinking about it.

I loved this book. I loved the story, I loved the world, I loved the twists and turns, I loved the plot, I loved the conflicts, I loved the relationships, I loved the characters. I loved it all. Objectively, I can see the imperfections in this book — some minor plot lines felt rushed, a specific moment between two characters felt odd — but to me, this book was perfect. It was perfect for what I needed, emotionally.

I also love a good ominous monster.

[Future Ash, write about the thing with Justin (and also do the prelim stuff, obvi). Present Ash is going to watch Youtube. Hope you feel better tomorrow, dude.]

“Future” Ash here! I’m going to leave in that note from past me because it’s a little funny. But yes! Justin.

I don’t feel like he was that involved in this book, which makes sense due to the events of the last book. But it was like him and May switched places. I think May’s side story in this novel was really well-placed, and I think that I liked her inclusion more than I would have liked Justin’s chapters to continue, since he was my least favorite founder’s kid from the first book! And I also thought how May’s own personal adventure played into the final story was really freaking cool.

The parts in which Justin was involved were okay to me. I think most of them helped advance the plot and the growth of characters, but that one moment between characters that felt off to me that I mentioned earlier? Yeah, that was between Justin and Isaac, and I think it just felt strange to me because we hadn’t had Justin as involved before that moment. It wasn’t a bad moment by any means (on the contrary, it was actually a really important discussion to have), it just felt very sudden to me — but it also caused a lot of character growth so honestly who knows what I’m talking about.

Before I go, I just want to say that I really loved the end. I loved the major plot twist in the story, I really liked how the relationships between the characters were left, and BOY OH BOY that last page????? AH

“And after years of people looking at him like he was broken, it was a relief bigger than words to know someone else understood that healing did not mean going back to the way things had been before. It meant transforming into someone new and accepting that person, sharp edges and all.

— Christine Lynn Herman, page 312

the verdict ~

All in all, this duology (but this book specifically) has become one of my all time favorites. I will never be able to forget about these characters, especially Issac and Harper, and I know I’ll be returning to the scenes and quotes I tabbed in this book when I need them. I truly recommend this series to you all.

“The girl who could finally go home, the girl who was soft and strong and a little bit older than she’d been a few months ago. And there was a future spiraling wide in front of her, filled to the brim with endless possibilities.”

— Christine Lynn Herman, page 365

links ~

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Bookshop | Book Depository | Chapters | Waterstones | Half Price Books | Indiebound

“It was a song and a promise and a story all in one.”

— Christine Lynn Herman, page 347

that’s all i have for you guys today! this review may have been a little sporadic, but i hope you angels liked it :<

and until next time, don’t miss me too much ~

— ash

poetry book review > ‘beautifully chaotic’ by danielle holian

hello, my angels ~

i hope you all are doing well and staying safe! today, i come to you all with a poetry book review!

before we begin, a note: i was sent a digital copy of this poetry collection by the author in exchange for an honest review. all opinions stated are my own.

page number



Poetry Book


Beautifully Chaotic is a poetry collection that shows a progression from isolation to survival — with stories about sexuality, trauma of sexual assault, heartbreak, feminism, and learning how to survive through thriving times. Each poem is crafted with an expression of empowerment, love, and truth. Danielle’s raw and relatable poetry celebrates the beauty of life and mourns the chaos. Her work transports readers to intimate places that reaches private emotions of love and loss. The essence of it all is to show that life goes on through the loving, bad, and confusing times. The book is split into four chapters of Destruction, Purpose, Mourning, and Healing.

trigger warnings?

Poems referencing rape/sexual assault, toxic and abusive relationship, heartbreak, and parental shittiness.

“So don’t build a life around you / Build a life within you / And never beg for art; / Create it.”

— Danielle Holian, Loc. 131



Guess who read this in one night?


But yes, I read this collection in one night and oh, what a time it was.

Reviewing poetry books is always harder for me because I have trouble gathering my thoughts on them and analyzing them, so let’s see how this goes.

First off, this style of poetry isn’t my preferred style to read. I prefer longer and more figurative (?) poems while the ones in this book were shorter and free verse. These poems are incredibly raw and Holian gets to those heavy emotions in just a few lines. No matter who you are, if you read this collection, it’s clear to see just how close Holian is to her poetry and just how much she’s revealing her own thoughts, emotions, and experiences to her readers, which is incredible.

So, the style wasn’t my favorite but that didn’t stop me from relating to some of the poems, at times almost too much. These poems reference a lot of heavy topics from the survivor’s point of view and sometimes that’s really hard to read. In my case, it’s like reading the things I’m too afraid to admit or to say out loud — almost like a callout post. It doesn’t necessarily bother or trigger me but I would definitely caution you guys to be mindful of what you can and can’t handle reading about, as with all literature dealing with trigger warnings, before going into this book.

the verdict ~

If you’re going through/healing from things that are similar to the topics that are discussed in this book, I definitely think you should check out this collection because it may help you feel,,, better. Whatever better looks like for you. But, if you do decide to read this, take care of yourself and go through the trigger warnings to help prepare yourself and make sure you can handle it. I don’t want any of you to be hurt.

I don’t think this book is really for me, but I admire Holian for writing about some of the worst things in her life and sharing them with an audience. That takes a lot and I really praise her for that.

links ~

Goodreads | Amazon

and that’s all for me today! i hope you guys are having a wonderful day or night!

until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

— ash

book review > ‘tigers, not daughters’ by samantha mabry

hello, my angels ~

sorry about disappearing (again).

before we get into this review, i just want to give a huge shout out to Alonquin for providing me with an e-arc and a physical copy of this book!

i was originally supposed to have a review up for this book a couple weeks ago while a blog tour for it was happening, but i was so swamped with school and family responsibilities that i was unable to read it and post it on time.

but, better late than never, right? maybe?

page number



Young Adult; Magical Realism; Paranormal > Ghosts; Contemporary


The first time Ana Torres came back as a ghost, her sisters weren’t there.

A year later, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, still consumed by grief and haunted by Ana’s memory, start noticing strange things around the house: laughter without a voice, shadows cast by nothing, writing on the walls. None of them have seen Ana, but they know she’s trying to send them a message — or maybe it’s a warning.

In a stunning follow-up to her Nation Book Award-longlisted novel All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves a magical, romantic tale about ferocious sisterhood.

trigger warnings

Trigger warnings for domestic abuse, physical and emotional parental abuse, death, and violence


Hispanic MCs!

thoughts while reading

“I don’t trust him”
“Do I smell . . . murder?”
“Nevermind I feel bad”
“Nevermind I don’t feel too bad anymore”
“I don’t trust that”
“Punch! Him!”
“I’m guessing *redacted* is the other narrator?”
“Omg I love her”
“Hell yeah!”

“She knew what it felt like to have a part of her snapped off, leaving her with a big, raw hole that might heal but would never heal right.”

— Samantha Mabry, page 116-117


So, I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but I’ve been in a creative slump for the past 2.5-3 months and it’s been,,,,


I haven’t been reading or writing much. I journaled still but I had harder times sticking to themes and basically, it was just hell. Even when I thought I was getting out of it, I would always find that I was back in my slump.

But guys — this book made me want to annotate a book again. I’ve barely annotated in the books I have read in the past few months but this one? Right from the very beginning I felt the yearning I usually do (when I’m not in a slump, that is) when I read a line and I have to leave my own mark on it in some way.

So that’s pretty dope.

(And honestly, that feeling is sticking! For the first time in a long time, I want to read — I’ve already finished three books this month!)

Onto actual book specifics! Let’s run over the plot real fast, shall we? There’s four sisters (Ana, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa) who live with their father. The book begins from an unknown person’s point of view from the night that the four sisters tried to run away and then jumps to a few months later, when Ana dies after falling from her window. The main plot though begins around the one year anniversary of Ana’s death — when she comes back (as a ghost).

The first thing that really stood out to me about this book was Iridian, but before I get into her, I’ll give you a rundown of all the sisters (in order from oldest to youngest —

  • Ana
    • The oldest sister
    • She’s deceased
  • Jessica
    • Angry child
      • No like literally — she’s known for being angry
    • Works at a drugstore and is doing her best! She’s trying to take care of her family!!
    • Takes care of their father when he has one of his “episodes”
  • Iridian
    • If Jessica is the angry child, Iridian is the one that doesn’t feel anything
      • Well, obviously she feels things, but she tries to hide them away instead of dealing with her own guilt and sadness
    • She’s a writer!
  • Rosa
    • The cutest, honestly
    • She has that “wise beyond her years” kind of vibe
    • She also has this thing with animals that’s pretty dope

Okay! Back to Iridian! Iridian reminds me a lot of myself, especially when my trauma was the freshest. She, like myself, doesn’t want to look at her own emotions — she’s better at other people’s, especially fictional ones. For her and I and so many others, our emotions, like she states in the book, make us itch. They make us scared and on-edge, always ready for something bad to happen. So, to cope with that feeling, we ignore them. And if you’re like Iridian and I, one of the ways we cope is to write.

But Iridian goes through a transformation that I went through years ago and that sometimes, I feel like I’m still going through. She learns how to care about and love people again and begins to learn how to show it. And because of this, I felt really connected to her.

Something that puzzles me about this book though is that Ana . . . really didn’t feel like a ghost. She felt more like a minor character who popped in every now and then, which I guess is still true. I think I was expecting Ana to reveal that she was murdered or something but that’s really not what happened. She came back for her sisters and I think that was the best thing she could have done.

“Emotions were hard for Iridian. She liked to read about them in books, but hated when they crept and settled in her own bones. They made her edgy. They made her sweat. Over the course of the last year, she’s convinced herself she’d gotten really good at ignoring them, brushing them aside, dodging them like a car swerving around a dead animal in the road.”

— Samantha Mabry, page 17

the verdict ~

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It gave an extremely beautiful and important narrative on sisterhood and family. Iridian especially is a character that I don’t think I will ever be able to forget and I think that she’ll always be a character that I feel incredibly connected to.

“The one with the heart too hot, the one who locked boys into houses with ghosts, the one with nothing to give but anger.”

— Samantha Mabry, page 269

links !

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Chapters | Half Price Books | Indiebound

that’s all i have for you today, angels. i hope you all are staying inside and staying safe!

until next time, don’t miss me too much ~

— ash